HBO Europe Hires 'The Borgias' Producer Amid Push Into Originals

IN TREATMENT (2008-2010)

Gabriel Byrne played a shrink who sees a different patient in each episode — and, borrowing from the Israeli show it was based on, there was an episode of In Treatment every day of the week. (The first season had 43 episodes.) It was a daring format, but it might've been a little too much of a good thing: Despite winning numerous accolades, HBO canceled it after its third season.

As executive producer, drama development, Steve Matthews will be based in London

HBO Europe has hired Steve Matthews, a consulting producer on Showtime's The Borgias, as a London-based programming executive as it continues to expand its original programming output.

The European arm of the Time Warner unit, which operates across Eastern Europe and in the Netherlands, said Matthews would serve as executive producer drama development starting in September as it looks to take a page from its parent company's playbook and create more original fare for its markets.

Reporting to Antony Root, executive vp original programming and production, Matthews will support teams across the region on original series and adaptations of international formats. He will be based in London, but work with the HBO Europe original production teams in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania.

Said Root: "Steve brings over 20 years of development and production experience across multiple drama genres, which I believe will be invaluable as we expand our output at HBO Europe."

HBO Europe has been looking — just like its U.S. parent company — to produce more originals beyond documentaries, which it has made for a while. As part of that, it has focused on adapting show formats for its Eastern European markets, which include Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland.

"HBO Europe develops and produces its own award-winning original programming documentaries and comedy and is producing local-language drama series from successful established formats," its website says.

Initially, Israeli formats In Treatment and Shall We Kiss were the main offerings along those lines. Psychologist drama In Treatment was remade by HBO for the U.S., but also for Romania, followed by local versions for the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. Relationship drama Shall We Kiss has similarly been remade for Hungary and Romania.

More recently, HBO Europe has produced Burning Bush as its first original local-language drama in Eastern Europe. The Czech miniseries was set during the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1969. 

HBO Europe also airs such HBO originals as Boardwalk Empire and True Blood. The first service launched by HBO in Europe was HBO Hungary in Sept. 1991.

Matthews has also produced such shows as crime drama Silent Witness for the BBC and horror series Urban Gothic for Channel 5.  

Twitter: @georgszalai